The UK current account of the balance of payments with the rest of the world has moved from surplus to deficit since 1985 and this has focused attention not only on the possible economic implications but also on the quality of the data on which the current account statistics are based. For example, the House of Commons Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee has been very critical of their quality, one member suggesting that a health warning should be attached to the statistics because of their inaccuracy. This article concentrates on the data problems associated with the compilation of the account, but by way of introduction describes the broad framework of the current account, puts them in perspective and examines the data for some recent years.
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